Geoffrey Chaucer



The Wife of Bath's prologue is a disgusting autobiographical confession, together with that she entertains another pilgrims on the journey to Canterbury.  If we look for clear and plausible reasoning we'll be let down, but we could respect the skill with which she tries to convince the listeners with her individual and strong type of argument.

Her most important topics are union, and also the significance of the genuine experience of living instead of the government - especially religious authorities - may deem we 'ought' to reside.

Were in this world, is right ynogh for me personally 
A number of the arguments, however, might be regarded as legitimate in addition to entertaining.  The very first issues she deals with will be the best to marry more than once, and also the best to have sexual relationships for enjoyment, and on those points she's arguing against the medieval Catholic church.  She claims on the Church's own floor, which of biblical interpretation:

On marriage:
Nonetheless, it isn't the disagreements in themselves that impress us but the very fact that she's cheerfully and with no remorse living what many might have predicted a lifetime of sin, while still proclaiming that she understands more about what should and shouldn't be completed in life than among the most effective governments in the property.

Many of her disagreements, however, are unconvincing, and distort the reality.  For Example, she describes St. Paul to the Corinthians:

I've the capability duringe al my lyf

Right so the Apostel tolde it unto me(158-60)

The biblical reference was intentionally distorted - she fails to state that the husband has got equal rights within her entire body.  Later in her prologue she poses 2 suggestive arguments side by side.  First:

I knowe yow to get a trewe wyf, dame Alis'.  (318-20)

Afterward, a few lines later:
He's to greet a nigard which wolde werne
A Guy to lighte a candle in his lanterne;
He shal have not the lasse mild, pardee.  (333-5)

Having contended that her husband ought to expect her to be loyal, she argues that her husband shouldn't resent her with casual connections with other guys.

If it weren't for the good-humoured audacity with which she puts forward these debates we'd discount themand her, as absurd.  She's the persuasive art of a salesman, and also employs the imagery and diction of selling when speaking about her 'wares' and about her approach to and in union. 

Winne whoso can, for al is for to selle (414)

Another rhetorical method she uses is to put forward the husband's supposed arguments against her in order to demolish them on her own terms.  The things she articulates the husband of earning were regular complaints against women taken out of a text on union by the Greek philosopher Theophrastus (370-285 BC), that was a frequently-used supply of material to get mediaeval satires in women. 

She asserts, for instance:
Thou seist to me personally it's a greet meschief

And if she be riche, of heigh parage,
Thanne seistow It Is a tormentrie
To soffre hire pride and employ malencolie.  (248-52)

She accuses him of having said all this while drunk, and thus rendering it impossible for the husband to deny it.

And then prechest on thy bench, with ivel preef!  (246-7)

The other device she uses would be to have the audience at the debate, with phrases like:
(61)
Telle me ... (115)
... say goodbye no?  (123)

The implication of these phrases is that when nobody can disagree, then she needs to be right. 

She wins arrangement by implicitly flattering people who concur.  As an instance:

A wys womman wol bisie hire evere in oon (209)
Ye wise wives, that kan understonde.  (225)
This knoweth every womman that's wys.  (524)

These asides suggest any girl who agrees with her needs to be sensible, and so, implicitly, some who disagree have to be foolish.

The Wife's rhetorical techniques attain the desired benefits.  The listeners can't put forward instant counter-arguments, and when we envision her at the dramatic case of talking to the husband, then at the time he'll have realised that the fallacy of her debate and thought a reply she'll have set forward half a dozen arguments.  She begs for her lack of ethics with speed and adorable, getting her manner by exasperating her competitor.

The Wife is a lot more than a comic caricature; she'd thickness, along with her individual sensitivity is shown in several of ways.  When we were to believe that she had been oblivious of her flaws, and not able to analyze and understand herself, we'd be less impressed with her is true, however there's ample evidence to indicate that under her boisterous and bawdy outside she's a smart accountable girl.

In a passage revealing that she's self-knowledge, she admits to her deceitfulness, and asserts her manipulative approaches are a part of a gift from God that all women talk about.

For al swich humor is yeven us in oure birthe;
Deceite, weping, turning God hath yive
To wommen kindly, whil that they could live.  (400-2)

If it weren't because of her ability for detachment her accounts could be humourless and self-condemning, but she understands what she's doing and takes responsibility for her actions.  She understands that not everyone will appear upon her perspectives and behavior favourably:

But Crist, that of perfeccion is welle ... (107)
... 
Spak into hem that wolde reside parfitly;
Along with lordinges, by youre leve, that am nat I. (112-3)

Ultimately, if we feel any Inclination to condemn her, then we must recall that she makes it apparent that, in the time of talking, her main aim is to amuse:

As taketh not agrief of I seye;
For myn entente isn't but for to pleye.  (191-2)

Bibliography
Chaucer, Geoffrey.  The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale.  Ed.  James Winny.  Cambridge University Press.  1965. 

Related Posts

Post a Comment

Subscribe Our Newsletter